National Spelling Bee

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susanb

Senior Member
Catalan-Catalonia
Hello!
I've just heard on the radio there's a spelling contest called "National Spelling Bee". What does bee stand for? Does it have something to do with the programme itself?
Thank you in advance!
 
  • gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Hello!
    I've just heard on the radio there's a spelling contest called "National Spelling Bee". What does bee stand for? Does it have something to do with the programme itself?
    Thank you in advance!
    From Wiki:

    (The etymology of the word "bee" in this sense is unclear. Historically, it has described a social congregation where a specific action is being carried out, like a husking bee, or an apple bee.)
     

    rsweet

    Senior Member
    English, North America
    A bee is sometimes used to describe a bee as a social gathering where people combine work, competition, and amusement—a quilting bee, spinning bee, husking bee, spelling bee. As far as I can find out, no one is sure of the origin of the word bee used this way. Some think it may relate to the communal work done by insects. One possibility is that it comes from the Middle English word "bene," which means "a prayer" or "a favor" for "good."
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    The Collins Dictionary
    bee a social gathereing for a specific purpose, as to carry out a communal task or hold competitions [C18 perhaps from dialect bean neighbourly help, from Old English ben boon.]

    .,,
     

    renegade angel

    Senior Member
    English, Australia
    "Spelling Bee" is just a term for a short spelling test. Its used mostly in primary schools for small children as it's fun and whoever does best can be the Spelling Bee.

    I don't think there's much background to the actual term itself other than somebody probably came up with it a long time ago and it seemed to work for children.
     
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